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SF to lift advertising restrictions on Warriors arena for illuminated rooftop sign and large video screen

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The Golden State Warriors’ Chase Center arena is under construction in Mission Bay. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

San Francisco plans to lift Mission Bay advertising restrictions for the new Golden State Warriors’ arena to allow for a large-scale video screen on the west facade, an illuminated rooftop Chase Center logo and other signage across the 11-acre redevelopment site.

The advertising sign plan, which is up for a vote Tuesday, has raised concerns for nearby UC San Francisco, which has questioned the effects the lights may have on those living in their housing across from the arena on Third Street and on helicopter pilots flying to the UCSF medical helipad.

But the university is not opposing the plan after meeting with the Warriors.

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Barbara French, a spokesperson for UCSF’s vice chancellor, told the San Francisco Examiner in an email Monday that UCSF has reviewed the proposal with the Warriors “to understand potential impacts” on both nearby residents and helicopter pilots. “Based on the information and analysis presented to us, we are supportive of the proposal,” she wrote.

French added that UCSF has asked that the “Warriors continue to consult with us regarding lighting intensities as Chase Center becomes operational” and “that lighting intensities of signage should be adjusted, if warranted, for flight safety.”

While public advertising is often met with aversion — voters have passed restrictions on billboards and other advertisement in the past — Warriors spokesperson PJ Johnston said that “we have the support of the folks who care most about the issue — our neighbors.” He noted that a citizens advisory committee approved the plan last week.

“The signage program includes signage that is consistent with other sports and entertainment centers, if not more conservative,” Johnston said. “You’ll note there’s a pretty large sign for a baseball park just up the block.”

Still, Darcy Brown, executive director of San Francisco Beautiful, an organization that works to reduce outdoor advertising, said she would like the proposal scaled back. “It is a stadium with all of the usual digital glitz that usually comes with that type of venue,” Brown said. “I would hope that the commission will reign it in a bit and find a reasonable compromise that doesn’t create a spectacle of digital noise.”

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The Commission on Community Investment and Infrastructure, which oversees the area, is voting on the advertising signage plan Tuesday. The vote would remove the existing Mission Bay signage restrictions from the Warriors’ 11-acre redevelopment site, blocks 29-32, in Mission Bay South, and replace them with the terms of the proposed so-called Warriors’ Event Center Sign Program.

Mission Bay has strict signage rules as part of the existing plan for the redevelopment area. They don’t allow billboards, flashing signs, moving signs, roof signs and general advertising wall signs higher than 50 percent of the building’s height.

Nadia Sesay, the commission’s executive director, acknowledged UCSF’s concerns in a memo to the commission, but noted that the Warriors would be submitting at a later date an exterior lighting plan and “in that plan, the signage illumination will be addressed.”

Sesay recommended approval of the overall signage plan in the memo. She said that the Warriors’ arena project is “a unique development … with specific and different signage needs than other commercial / industrial land uses in the neighborhood.”

She added that the existing signage restrictions “do not adequately address the needs of the Event Center Project and need to be amended to allow for certain types of sponsorship and entertainment related signage.”

The signage plan does impose some operating regulations. The rooftop sign, which could be up to 176 feet by 200 feet, “may be illuminated by halo lighting from 10:00 a.m. until midnight.” The arena is about 135 feet tall and has 18,000 seats.

In addition to the rooftop advertising, the plan allows for six “Chase Center” advertising signs on the arena’s facade, which would also be illuminated. The largest of the facade signs could be 10 feet by 106.5 feet.

The plan includes a 68 foot by 38 foot video board attached to the arena’s west side, which could play movies or a live feed of the game being played inside.

The arena redevelopment project includes two office buildings. The plan would allow 81 square foot signs displaying the trademark or logo of the relevant office tower tenant.

Other signage includes 15 informational pylon signs about eight feet high will be distributed across the site and may include digital displays, a full color LED gatehouse ticker ribbon announcing events and a similar gatehouse ticker near the entryway.

The tickers and the video screen can advertise event sponsors.

The Warriors arena in Mission Bay is expected to be finished in time for the 2019-2020 NBA season.

San Francisco plans to lift Mission Bay advertising restrictions for the new Golden State Warriors’ arena to allow for a large-scale video screen on the west facade, an illuminated rooftop Chase Center logo and other signage across the 11-acre redevelopment site. (Courtesy image)

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